Milford enjoys solid 24-0 opening victory at Caravel

BEAR — All the Milford football fans not allowed to watch their team due to coronavirus restrictions missed a pretty good performance Friday night.

The Buccaneers charged into halftime with a couple late scores and controlled the final two quarters of an eventual 24-0 victory over host Caravel in their season opener.

Senior Marquis Gillis ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns, which was coupled with a dominant Milford defense that never came close to allowing a score in the nonconference matchup.

Milford led by just a touchdown with less than three minutes before intermission, but junior Aaron Sivels ran for a five-year score and senior Landen Hajek kicked a 20-yard field goal with no time left on the clock for a 17-0 advantage at Bob Peoples Stadium.

Along with a steady running game, junior quarterback Shawn Saxon hit an array of receivers to keep control of the ball throughout the 48-minute contest. He hit Hajek with a 13-yard completion at the end of the half, along with a 14-yard strike to Ryan Mejia just before the Buccaneers kicked the field goal. Milford managed to call a timeout with one second remaining to set up the kick.

The offensive balance will serve Milford well this season, according to Gillis.

“We’re traditionally a running team but tonight we showed we can pass the ball pretty well too,” he said. “We just have to keep working at it and I believe will be very hard to stop.”

While Milford head coach Shaun Strickland said his team doesn’t have a whole lot of size, there are plenty of guys “who can fly around a lot” and there’s “a lot of speed on both sides of the ball.”

Also, Strickland said, “It feels great just to be out here. Our whole goal this season like we told these kids is to come out, get quality games and just come out and compete.

“It was all about competing. …”

Milford needed to drive just 41 yards for its first score late in the first quarter after a sack by Bryce Wells helped set his team up with great field position. The sack pinned Caravel at its own 12-yard line and the ensuing punt left the visitors in great position to break up a scoreless tie.

Gillis gained 10 yards on a second and 15 play and Saxon followed with a seven-yard rush on a keeper to keep the drive alive. Gillis then burst to his right for an 18-yard touchdown run and Hajek kicked the first of his three extra points for a 7-0 lead with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Gillis recovered a fumble at the Caravel’s 37-yard-line. The visitors needed six plays to score, which included a 13-yard rush by Mejia and 12-yarder by Sivels to set up the Sivel’s score for a 14-0 lead with 2:33 left.